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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY: Auto Trans Fluid and Filter Change for 328i/328xi



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      12-14-2017, 02:12 AM   #67
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O ring removal

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      03-03-2018, 04:54 PM   #68
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Thanks to OP for the nice DIY.

I just did my ATF again on my 2008 e90 328i with the GM tranny. I did it the first time at 120k, along with new filter and pan gasket. That first time I used Havoline synthetic Dextron VI from amazon. I chose this ATF because it was Dextron6 and it was cheap, only $62 for 12 quarts. This first ATF change made a huge difference in driveability compared to the old worn out lifetime BMW fluid, but it was still shifting smoothly with the original fluid, so I really only did it because I had read that I should do it. My wife was the main driver of the car and she was not complaining of any issues. After changing the fluid and filter and adding 5qts Havoline Dex6 I noticed a big improvement in driveability. More direct connection of engine to the road, my wife said it felt like a new car. Shifting remained smooth.

But unfortunately it didn't last. Now 156k, after 36k miles on the Havoline ATF the shifting became jerky and ill timed and it flared a little while upshifting 2>3 and 3>4 on easy acceleration.

I knew I had to change the ATF again. After a little more research I was ready to swap it again. My Bentley manual says the total ATF capacity for both the GM tranny and the ZF tranny is 9.5 liters (10 US qt.) "with torque converter drained." So this is the total ATF in the tranny. When we drain only the pan about 4 qts comes out. When we remove the pan and filter then 5 qts comes out. The rest of the old oil stays in the transmission, torque converter and the ATF cooler circuit. I looked online to find a way to "drain the torque converter," but I didn't find anything. On my Honda Odyssey I can do a flush by filling ATF dipstick and draining after the ATF cooler in the radiator so I get a complete flush. Maybe that's possible here too, but require further investigation, and breaking into the ATF return line from the radiator.

So in order to get an (almost) complete ATF change we need to repeat this drain/fill procedure. Drop the pan and change filter the first time, to get the most old oil (5qt) out the first time, then just do drain and fill (4qt) a couple more times to further dilute the remaining old oil with new. Drive the car a few miles to thoroughly mix the old and new oil before each drain/fill.

So after replacing 5 qts with new, we are left with 50% old oil still in there.
Another 4qt drain (without filter) removes 2 qts new and 2 qts old. By adding 4 qts new then we replaced 2 qts of the old oil and we're down to 30% old oil still in there. Drain another 4 qts (.4*.3=.12) leaves 12% of the old oil remaining, replacing 88% of the old oil with new. Repeat this triple drain every 50k, that's gotta be good enough. Right?

In the maintenance section of the Bentley manual it also says:

"The ATF in both the ZF and GM units should be changed at service intervals no greater than 100k miles. 60k-80k should be considered a more acceptable maximum interval."

and

"When checking the fluid level it is critical that the temperature of the fluid be maintained at 30 - 50 degrees Celsius," (86-122F.) Use infrared thermometer or use BMW scan tool to access ATF temp sensor. In my world that means the aluminum ATF pan should feel slightly warm to the touch (that's <100F.)

The last time I changed the ATF I only did one change (with filter) so I only changed 50% of the ATF. I think it broke down so quickly because half the fluid was up to 156k miles, and the Havoline probably is not as good quality as OEM "lifetime" ATF. Maybe if I did triple drain/fill with Havoline it would have lasted longer. So this time I bought two 5 liter bottles of Pentosin ATF from fcpeuro.com. I also considered Lubri-Moly 1800. I plan to change ATF on a triple flush every 50k, so it probably doesn't matter as long as I use a high quality brand, and not use the cheapest dextron I can find. ymmv. Turner sells BMW brand ATF for similar price as the Pentosin or Liqui-Moly.

I still have the Havoline in there now, I just did one drain/fill today because I was struggling under the car with a quart bottle hand pump. Then we switched to my 200ml syringe pump, that was a little faster but much more messy. My nerves were shot after one ATF swap, so there's no way I could do that procedure 2 more times using these small hand pumps. So today I ordered a PowerFill Pro 2 gallon tank from Motive Products for $85. It is a pneumatic pressure tank that fills by opening the valve. I'll drain and fill 2 more times with Pentosin ATF next week.

But all the shifting problems and flaring and jerky feel are totally gone with replacing only 4qts (40%) of the old oil, with cheap Havoline synthetic dex6. I have to assume it's the additives that are being used up and cause the shiftingf problems. OEM quality ATF will have more of these additives than cheap dextron so it can last longer. Just my opinion.

Summary:
- Definitely change your ATF! All oil is a sacrificial part
- New ATF improves driving enjoyment dramatically, and that's what we pay for with a BMW, so regular ATF change is definitely worth the cost and effort.
- Invest in a good ATF pump to make the job much, much easier.
- Repeat the ATF drain/fill three times to achieve a 90% ATF change. 1x = 50% ATF change, and it doesn't last.
- Final fill with engine running and ATF pan feels warm.

Funny, my BMW dealer recently quoted me $1560 to change ATF in my wife's 2016 X3. 8 qts magic lifetime ATF @$125 ea plus new pan/filter $400 and labor. I'll be DIYing that one also, at 50k.
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      03-03-2018, 05:20 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richidoo View Post
Thanks to OP for the nice DIY.

I just did my ATF again on my 2008 e90 328i with the GM tranny....

So today I ordered a PowerFill Pro 2 gallon tank from Motive Products for $85. It is a pneumatic pressure tank that fills by opening the valve. I'll drain and fill 2 more times with Pentosin ATF next week. ...


Rich
Thanks for the insights. Please let us know how the pump works out. I'm changing mine in the near future and want to be under the car for as short a time as possible. Also, being able to quickly fill avoids missing the temperature range.
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      03-08-2018, 04:40 PM   #70
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Will do. I got the pump tank yesterday, it looks nice, quality tool.

I'll want to final fill with the fluid at minimum temp range of 86F (30C) so the most amount of fluid goes in yet still within spec. More fluid can hold more heat, so lower temperature and more additives. It's a thin aluminum ATF pan which conducts heat very well, so you can feel the oil temp in the pan. As long as it feels slightly warm to the touch then you're above 86F. Or just do it on a day that's >86F ambient. No need for IR thermometer.

Found this advice about the 6L45 GM trans: http://etereman.com/blog/general-mot...5-transmission

After the recent ATF change I do have the ticking sound from the tranny, I can only hear it at idle, and not at startup. I think it's from sucking air into the ATF pickup while starting it without enough oil in the pan. The car wasn't exactly level, it was tilted down at the rear by a degree or two so I couldn't get the full 4 qts into the pan before it started dripping out. I think I had about 3qts, but could have even been a little less. I could hear it suck air before I could get more fluid in, due to the poor handpump situation. I have not taken the car on the highway yet, so I assume it will go away once I get it up to speed as others have reported. I will check that the car is level next time, or even tilt forward a little.

What do you guys think about this idea?: I do pseudo ATF flushes on my Honda every 30k. I drain and fill the pan with new ATF, then run the engine while catching used ATF from the cooler return at the radiator in a glass half gallon milk bottle. When bottle's full my helper shuts off the engine, I put 2 more qts of new ATF in the pan and run it again. Repeat a few times until the discharge from the cooler line looks clean. It uses the same amount of ATF as the total ATF capacity, 7qts. Original 2000 Odyssey trannys all died before 100k. I did dealer single drain/fill at 30/60/90k but they would only do it once while Honda recommends repeating it 3x. Mine started acting up at 110k. So I ditched the Honda ATF and started doing pseudo flush with full synthetic Valvoline at 120k, now mine's at 250k, original Odyssey 4speed with original stock ATF cooler. I just fed it good oil as often as Honda recommended and it lived. Imagine that!

So I'm thinking I should be able to do similar pseudo flush on the e90, either 2qts at a time, or by continuously pumping ATF into the fill hole to keep it full while running the engine to push the old oil out of the cooler return line, probably 5 qts at a time to allow refill the ATF tank. Then the torque converter and cooler all get purged and less waste of new ATF compared to drain and fill 4x to get 95% new ATF. That wastes 6 qts and a lot of time to drive it and jack it up 4x. I just have to find the cooler return port on the radiator. Thoughts?
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      03-10-2018, 02:20 PM   #71
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Pentosin ATF1 is not compatible with dextron 6. I'm returning it and using Redline D6 instead. The air pump works great!
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      03-23-2018, 05:32 PM   #72
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Thanks for the DIY and for everyone else's tips. I finally got around to doing this at 119k km (74k mi) as preventative maintenance. Despite the low mileage, shifting is noticeably smoother with the new fluid.

I drained 3.5L from the drain hole and another 1.5L when removing the pan and filter (5L total). I didn't follow the proper fill instructions and the pan was only 15C when I refilled ~5.7L (6 qt) of fluid before it began to drip out of the fill hole. I might have to revisit and see if I can get more fluid in when it warms up, but it feels strange to refill more than I drained.

I have AFE midpipes so my exhaust bracket was removed. I used a 17mm ratcheting wrench to loosen the fill plug as there wasn't enough clearance for my socket wrench.


My factory fluid was a greyish pink. The magnet had a lot of metallic sludge on it so a filter change for your first ATF service is a good idea.


TIS 24 11 013 (link) states not to use any solvent for cleaning so I just wiped the pan down with a towel.


I used this common orange transfer pump to refill. No leaks or mess and makes quick work of the fill process as each pump transfers 200ml or so.


Writing the pan bolt sequence on the pan itself makes life a lot easier.


Other tips:
1. Use four of the same jack stands at the same height to ensure that the car is level.
2. Loosen the fill plug before the drain plug in case you can't remove the latter. Mine came off with ease, but I only have 74k mi and I also sprayed them with penetrating fluid first.
3. Leave a pan bolt threaded at each corner and tap the pan with a rubber mallet to break it loose. You can also gently pry a corner to get it started.

Tools:
- 8mm socket - under panel
- 17mm ratcheting wrench - fill plug
- 5mm hex socket - drain plug
- 10mm socket - pan bolts
- 1/4" dr torque wrench
- Transfer pump
- IR thermometer gun

Parts:
- Filter - BMW 24117593565 $60 (Filtran Germany, same as factory filter)
- Gasket - BMW 24117572618 $55 (brand unknown, made in USA, same markings as factory gasket)
- 6-7 qt Motomaster synthetic Dexron VI $6/qt (licensed)

Torque specs:
- Pan bolts - 9.5 Nm
- Fill plug - 19 Nm
- Drain plug - 14 Nm

And the pan bolt sequence again:

Last edited by freedomfries; 03-24-2018 at 03:41 PM.
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      03-30-2018, 10:46 AM   #73
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So when I got my e92 at 50k miles I had this weird grinding problem during torque demand when coasting, I replaced the transmission fluid and problem went away. Now after about 50k miles I have a similar problem but this time it looks more like sluggish shifting so I am planning to replace the transmission fluid again.

Just to be clear, there is no need to replace the pan, correct? Just the fluid, gaskets and filter.

It is E92 N52.
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      04-03-2018, 12:18 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Pleaser View Post
So when I got my e92 at 50k miles I had this weird grinding problem during torque demand when coasting, I replaced the transmission fluid and problem went away. Now after about 50k miles I have a similar problem but this time it looks more like sluggish shifting so I am planning to replace the transmission fluid again.

Just to be clear, there is no need to replace the pan, correct? Just the fluid, gaskets and filter.

It is E92 N52.
Correct, unless your transmission pan is somehow warped and not sitting flush.
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      05-11-2018, 06:02 PM   #75
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I thank the OP and others providing the tips on working with this transmission.

As far as the shift problems go, I installed a Sonnax Zip Kit to see how it works in reducing the 2-1 kick and other 6L45 problems such as high ATF temperature and fluid pressure. In my 07 it worked out well, getting rid of most of the problems. It might do even more had I replaced the parts for the ATF pump areas. But I did not pull the transmission and had no plans to do so. Therefore just whatever fixes for the valve body.

Here is the thread: https://www.e90post.com/forums/showt...php?p=23170689

As far as removing the filter seal, I used a sprinkler nipple pipe. Placed the threaded part against the seal and pry by turning the pipe up 90 degrees and out pops the seal. As far as refilling the transmission goes, I remove the dipstick port plug on the right side of the transmission, dump the amount drained plus a little more (for setting the correct level) using a funnel and PVC tubing -- directly from the engine bay. Put the plug back in. Start the engine, shift through the gears and and then remove the check plug. It is so much faster this way.




I also use an aftermarket filter (~$7) and pan gasket (~$12). GM transmissions are common place, and these parts are much cheaper than BMW's. You can use Supertech Dexron VI (~$6.20/qt) or Valvoline Maxlife ATF ($18/gallon), but Valvoline is suitable for Dexron VI, but it is not Dexron licensed iirc.



As far as the drain plug stripping goes, I replaced it with an GM (OEM) steel plug. ACDelco 24234212. It comes with a gasket for about $3 + shipping. I am not sure why BMW would drop a perfectly good OEM steel plug for an aluminum one.


Last edited by labrador; 05-11-2018 at 06:30 PM.
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      06-06-2018, 04:03 PM   #76
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Labrador:
This is great info=>I remove the dipstick port plug on the right side of the transmission

Do you happen to have a pic of this port, I cant find on 08 328i. -- Assume you mean a different port from the Check Level port.

Also, need to locate the radiator connector for tranny, that is how I flush in my Benz, it is so easy, just like a another poster said, maybe 30min max(has port to add fluid from engine bay, I run engine to dump 2 quarts at a time, turn off, add 2...repeat till runs out "new").
I cant believe these are such a hassle for a complete flush. thanks

Last edited by Diesel315; 06-06-2018 at 04:23 PM.
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      06-07-2018, 08:10 PM   #77
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Yes, the dipstick port has a plastic plug on the right side of the transmission, higher up on a ledge. The check plug on RWD 6L45 is facing the back, just above the pan.

The dipstick hole plug is like a close-ended tube with a loose plug in it. I think the plug expands the tube to seal. On first removal it might be a little difficult, but subsequently I can easily remove it with 2 fingers. Lifting up the plug, and then push up farther. The first time I believe I used a long screwdriver to push up on the plug. The access in that area is a little tight but doable.



The ATF cooler lines are on the left side of the transmission, and on my 07 the pipes/hoses go forward to the lower driver side of the radiator. There's a cooler there. I did not want to mess with that connection.

Here is an aftermarket dipstick picture. Clean the area, mine had lots of road dust accumulated around it.


Last edited by labrador; 06-07-2018 at 08:16 PM.
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      06-20-2018, 09:31 PM   #78
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Thanks Labrador! This made it so much easier.
See tube looping up to fill hole, and pic of funnel to fill with.
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      06-20-2018, 09:39 PM   #79
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FYI, changed filter, refilled-then started it and ran thru all gears a few times, drained again, did 3 more times-last one ran pretty clear red. I ended up using 3 gallons.
Car had 154k miles, fluid was dirty but still traces of red, no bad smell(mostly highway miles).
With funnel setup it is easy, no need to pump in from underneath.
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